Avoidance of Cell Death

Cancer cells proliferate continuously by evading tumor suppressor pathways that inhibit proliferation, which prevents senescence or apoptosis. Other mechanisms work to prevent activation of apoptotic or autophagic pathways. To treat cancer, researchers continue to search for drugs that kill cancer cells, halt tumor growth or induce apoptosis in tumors. Real-time assays that allow continuous monitoring of cell viability, cytotoxicity and apoptosis are useful in determining the dosage and exposure time for drug treatments. 3D culture systems have become the choice model for cancer drug discovery because they better represent tumor microenvironment compared to 2D cultures.

Cell Viability

Cell viability assays detect live cells and can be used to measure the effect of drug treatments on tumor cell proliferation.

Cell Culture Preparation and Plating

Watch this video to learn the procedure for culturing and plating cells for use in cell-based assays.
cell viability assay for today

A Cell Viability Assay for Today

Learn how the CellTiter-Glo® Luminescent Assay is used to support various areas of research.

Real-Time Cell Viability Assay

Watch this video to learn about the advantages of monitoring cell viability with a real-time assay compared to endpoint assays.

celltiter glo 2.0

CellTiter-Glo® 2.0

A luminescent cell viability assay for fast, easy, everyday use.


Cytotoxicity assays detect dead cells and can be used to measure cytotoxic effects of cancer drugs in cell-based screenings.

CellTox™ Green Cytotoxicity Assay

Watch this video to learn about a real-time cytotoxicity assay with multiplexing capability.

cell viability assay for today

A Better Way to Measure Cell Death

Read this blog to learn about the advantages of using a real-time cytotoxicity assay.


Apoptosis can be induced in tumors due to elevated levels of oncogene signaling or DNA damage associated with hyperproliferation. However, tumors can also gain the ability to evade apoptosis, resulting in malignancy and resistance to therapy.

Introduction to Apoptosis

What happens to cells undergoing apoptosis? Watch this video to learn about the extrinsic apoptosis pathway.

Intrinsic Triggering of Apoptosis

How does DNA damage initiate apoptosis? Watch this video to learn about the intrinsic apoptotic pathway.

detecting apoptosis in real time

Detecting Apoptosis in Real Time

Learn about a sensitive method to study apoptosis and secondary necrosis in real time using a plate-reader.


In stressed, nutrient-limited environments such as tumors, autophagy is induced to break down organelles and allow cellular material to be recycled and used for biosynthesis and energy metabolism. Autophagy can have opposing effects on tumor cell behavior. In some cases, it serves as a survival mechanism for tumors, protecting tumors from undergoing apoptosis. In other cases, it can also induce apoptosis, resulting in tumor cell death.

autophagy lc3 hibit reporter assay

Quantifying Autophagic Flux

A simple, homogeneous autophagy assay enables screening for modulators of autophagic flux in 2D or 3D culture model systems using a plate-reading luminometer.

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3D Cell Culture

3D cultures contain gradients of oxygen and nutrients from the exterior to the interior, allowing them to mimic tissue or tumor environments more closely compared to 2D cultures. As a result, 3D culture systems have become the choice model system for cancer drug development. Working with 3D cultures often requires optimization of 2D assay protocols, such as increased shaking and incubation times. More recently, assays specifically designed for use with 3D cell cultures have become available.

Still using MTT assays, imaging or flow cytometry to measure cell health? Learn about the advantages of using real-time plate-based cell viability, cytotoxicity and apoptosis assays for drug discovery.

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